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Full text of "A search in secret Egypt"

zo              A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
Sleep comes with the night, but I had resolutely thrust it aside rrom hour to hour. Nevertheless, at this point in my nocturnal pondering my eye-lids began to droop in involuntary revolt and my mind became a little drowsy. Two forces were now contesting for supremacy within me. The first was an ardent desire to spend a night's vigil and watch the world with the Sphinx; the second was a growing inclination to yield flesh and thought unto the soothing soporific caress of the environing darkness. Finally I made peace between them and signed a treaty whereby I kept my eyes scarcely open, narrow unseeing slits they were; and my mind scarcely awake, and I let my thoughts slip away into a reverie of colours passing in procession.
And I rested a while in the serene languor which comes when thought is suspended. How long I remained thus I do not know, but a moment arrived when the colours disappeared from my vision and a great open landscape took their place. It was weirdly lit up with a silvery light, as a landscape might be lit up under a full moon.
And all around me there moved throngs of dark figures, hastening to and fro, some carrying loads in baskets set upon their heads and others climbing up and down frail poled scaffoldings fixed against a huge rock, Overseers there were among them, issuing orders to the labourers or carefully watching the efforts of men who worked with hammer and chisel upon the rock, the while they chipped into pre-designed pattern. The air rang with the sounds of their repeated blows.
The faces of all these men were long and hard, the skins tinted reddish brown, or greyish yellow, and the upper lips, also, were noticeably long.
Ajid when their work was done, lo! the outcropping rocky escarpment had turned into a gigantic human head set upon a huge lion body, the whole figure resting in a great artificial hollow cut out of the plateau. A broad and deep magnificent stairway led down to the hollow. And upon the top of the figure's curious headdress, whose wide folds stood out behind the ears, there was set a disk of solid gold. The Sphinx!
And the people disappeared and the landscape became as